If you wanted guidance or advice about your prayer life, to whom would you go? You might know a friend or a spiritual director who could give you some helpful insight or ideas. There are certainly excellent books that you could read and find many wonderful suggestions. There is no question, however, that looking at the life of Jesus as it is described in the Gospels might be the way to find inspiration, as well as the wisest counsel.
We have recorded for us in the Gospels not only various invitations to pray, but also several of the prayers that Jesus prayed throughout His time of ministry. Have you ever asked yourself why Jesus needed or perhaps wanted to pray? He was truly God Himself, so why did He get up early on many busy mornings to be by Himself to pray? Could it be that because He was also completely human, He recognized His total dependence on His Father? Just as we do, He longed for the intimacy of conversation with the One who understood Him completely. He recognized that on His own He would fail to accomplish His Father’s will, so He wanted to verbally, as well as silently, entrust His entire life into the keeping of The One Eternal God. In a relationship, there is absolutely nothing that replaces time spent together when both people are focused solely on each other. It may mean conversation. There will be be times of silence. But the rewards of this time will pay off immensely.
When Jesus said, “Ask, using My name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy” (John 16: 24) or “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11: 28), don’t you think he was inviting His beloved followers to pray? To humble themselves and ask? To admit that they needed Him? To feel comfortable enough in His presence to simply be themselves – no pretense and no merit of their own? To express love and to receive His unfailing love? “Through prayer we journey from wherever we are on earth to the very heart of God.” (Ray Pritchard)